Friday, September 07, 2012

Can we not face the reality of recovery?

We hear about eating disorders a lot in the media, we hear what causes them, what encourages them, who gets them, who's on a diet and who's dying. But wouldn't it be more refreshing to hear about recovery?

Not the recovery story that digs up ghosts of the past, but real, fighting, inspirational recovery stories.

The problem with a lot of the exposure eating disorders gets is that for those suffering it can further cement their disorders, for those in recovery, it can trigger old behaviours and thoughts and for those who have little or no understanding of the complexity of them, it does little to educate.

Magazines still do little to HELP ED awareness

Unfortunately there's still a massive bubble of stigma around anorexia, a superficial glance into the reality of what it's like to have it, sugar coated with the opinion that it's some sort of lifestyle choice, encouraged by the media. No, we're not over that, apparently. 

Any 'I survived anorexia' story in women's magazines or newspapers is more often and not covered in the same old way. With skeletal pictures, figures, weights and talk of calories and pounds. Personally, I think this angle  on eating disorder stories is getting old.

I can't help but ponder what it's be like if the media stopped talking about someone's anorexic past and switched to focusing on what it's like to FIGHT for recovery? 

Since February I've been involved in a pro-recovery project TEAM RECOVERY which helps inspire, raise awareness and support people in their own unique recovery journeys. Two friends and I were inspired by the growing support network forming on social networks at the end of 2011 and knew that #RecoveryNinja tag was a new way of expressing a FIGHT against eating disorders online. During Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2012 the ‘Team Recovery’ pro-recovery project was launched.

But, even getting exposure for Team Recovery, I was personally met with fellow journalists asking for lowest weight pictures,  dates, old diaries and 'suffering' angle on our own stories. They weren't interested in the three sixty people had applied to their lives, not interested in their battle, fight, war with the mind. They were totally uninterested in the concept of being RECOVERED, having beaten an eating disorder, instead they were focused on dragging up the darkest time in someone's life. 

The problem is, this helps no one. But why have we not realised this yet? 

Is the strength of a person to fight their own mind, the determination to grasp on to life not inspirational enough or do we just like a gawp at a dying, unhappy, withrawn, skeleton of a person instead? I know which I'd personally rather read. I also know which would be more helpful to reduce the stigma and improve society's understanding of mental health.... how refreshing would it be? 


M said...

Love this. Can you write some of these stories Sare?

Sarah Robertson said...

I am going to try, I really DO think we need more inspiration than shock stories out there.

Sarah C said...

Brilliant article Sarah; I'm sure reading inspirational stories would help people along the road to recovery much quicker than being bombarded with "I survived anorexia" stories in magazines, newspapers etc. (Which, as you point out, can be triggering and actually impede progress in recovery). It would be amazing to be able to relate to the recovery process the feelings, thoughts, fears etc rather than just reading an article and relating to the ED behaviours mentioned. I would certainly feel less alone and more empowered in my own recovery if I knew the struggles I am going through are all part of the recovery process and other, now recovered people, have been through the same. Not wanting to blow my own trumpet or anything, but it'd be great to be able to contribute somehow if you write some of the stories? I would love to be involved in using my experiences to inspire and motivate.... :)